July 29, 2014

President Nominates Reform-Oriented Doctor to Key Health Care Post

  • The American health care system is a patchwork of public and private programs that serve citizens in different ways, depending on their age, military...

A pediatrician with a reputation for improving both the quality and efficiency of health care has been tapped to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a job that will play a central role in implementing the new health care legislation.

President Obama nominated Dr. Donald Berwick, a Harvard professor who is president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass. The institute’s work includes helping hospitals around the country adopt measures to avoid patient deaths.

The nomination is subject to confirmation by the Senate, where there is speculation that hard feelings over health care reform will spill over into the confirmation process.

Obama praised Berwick as someone who “has dedicated his career to improving outcomes for patients and providing better care at lower cost.” Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said he would need to “explore the nominee’s preparedness” for challenges that will include “implementing the hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts and the biggest expansion of Medicaid in its history.”